Sunday, March 24, 2013


March 22, 1962 is remembered by many musical theatre fans as the night Barbra Streisand took Broadway by storm as Miss Marmelstein during the opening night performance of I Can Get It For You Wholesale. Based on Jerome Weidman's novel, many of Harold Rome's lyrics dripped with a unique brand of bitter irony and blunt sarcasm.

While the star of the show was a young Elliott Gould (who married Streisand in 1963), none of the show's songs gained a toehold in the pop music of the day. More than a half century after I Can Get It For You Wholesale opened on Broadway, it's interesting to examine Rome's lyric for the ingenue, Ruthie Rivken (Marilyn Cooper) who gets dumped by the show's anti-hero, Harry Bogen.
"A funny thing happened on my way to love.
I lost the young fellow I've been dreaming of.
He changed while I waited and hoped for his call,
To someone who's no fun at all.
Well, I've stopped forgetting, what else can I do?
And much thanks for letting me practice on you.
It's farewell my lovely, excuse, please, my dust.
Unravel and travel I must.

No tears, no hurt surprise,
It's with a pleasant glow I realize.
If I have that much love so deep, true and strong.
All ready to hand you, my dear Mr. Wrong.
Then think of the treasures, the joy and delight,
I'll give to my own Mr. Right.
My own Mr. Right.

So hasta la vista, ta-ta, toodle-oo,
The world will keep turning, but not around you.
There's someone else waiting that's more than a friend.
Best wishes and dishes I'll send.
And so, so-long, I'm on my way.
Thanks for the buggy-ride and may I say...

If I have that much love so deep true and strong.
Already to hand you, my dear Mr. Wrong.
Then think of the treasures, the joy and delight,
I'll give, as long as I live, at night,
To my own Mr. Right."
With so many people excited at the prospect of the United States Supreme Court hearing arguments on California's Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act, let me recommend a brutal reality check by Jesse Green that was recently published in New York Magazine. His article predicts how marriage equality will pave a path for same-sex couples to achieve divorce equality as well. From 'I Do' to 'I'm Done' may not contain the news same-sex couples want to hear, but it's a sobering wake-up call about what happens after love dies (spoiler alert: I'm not talking about an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical).

The recent CAAMFest included some fascinating shorts which reveal what happens as age and experience burst the bubble of a young man's happiness and naivete.

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At first, Robert Joe's nine-minute short, Bubble, might seem like little more than a conversation between two South Korean business executives. As the film begins, they enter an upscale bar to celebrate what has obviously been a successful day for their office. It doesn't matter whether their success is due to acquiring a new account, an impressive monthly sales report, or a promotion. It's been a good day.

As they drink, the older man asks his younger colleague about his marriage plans and is surprised to discover that the young man wants to wait at least a year to be sure he can afford a new apartment and that this marriage will work. Amused by his junior colleague's serious approach to matrimony, the senior executive explains that the reason he has such a happy and successful marriage is because he's not in love with his wife.

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In Maxim Dashkin's Broken Maiden, the filmmaker focuses on Felix Chong (Kay Tong Lim), a gambling addict who can't stop betting on horses at a race track in Singapore. One sees the hungry excitement in Felix's eyes as his horse comes around the bend, followed by the familiar look of disappointment when another horse wins the race.

Things change, however, when Felix visits his son Michael (Timothy Nga), who is now running the business Felix started in his younger days. Michael's hostility toward his father becomes understandable as the viewer learns that Felix has gambled away all of the family's money and may even have cost Michael his marriage.

Soon, however, Felix is back at the race track with that intoxicated look of excitement in his Michael discovers that the cash register in his business has been jacked open with a screwdriver.

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A poignant nine-minute film by Etienne Sievers, Dilli Dreams is set in the crowded bazaars of Old Delhi as a tired old man (Ram Bihari) has his wallet stolen by a young boy. After chasing after the boy but failing to regain his money, the aging mazdoor (manual laborer) shoulders another heavy bag of rice to carry from one location to another.

The vivid colors of Old Delhi contrast sharply with the old man's black-and-white memories of life in the country as a young boy (Mohammed Faisal) before he left his family to try to earn a living in the big city. Here's the trailer:

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A talented actor, writer, and director, Randall Park has become a familiar face as an Asian-American character actor. He's also been hilariously funny in performances by Opening People's Minds (OPM), a comedy sketch group based in Los Angeles. Here he is with Ewan Chung and Dave Wilder in this clip from Funny or Die.

Park's irreverent wit is on display in a 22-minute film originally produced as a TV pilot.  At Your Convenience stars Park and Dwayne Perkins as two goofballs running a convenience store. Though they may be best buddies for life, they could easily lead people to believe that conservative Congress critters Louie Gohmert, Michele Bachmann, and Virginia Foxx were charter members of Mensa International.

Co-written with  Randall C. Lai, At Your Convenience has an appealing hybrid format which you can see in the following sample clip. If this show doesn't get picked up by a cable television network, it's surefire material for a series of webisodes.

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